Map Monday: US States by Migration Patterns

Here’s a map that divides US states into four categories according to whether or not people are moving in or out of the state, and where those people are coming from. Via Alex Bauman on Twitter and the great state of Oregon, you can see that Minnesota turns out to be an “insular” state, along with much of the Upper Midwest.

Here’s the map, followed by a brief explanation:

The map is generated by comparing state’s ranks of migration above or below the national average. Here’s the chart where you can view those quadrants, with Minnesota highlighted:

The explanation from Josh Lehner, the chart maker:

What I have done is group all the states into four categories based upon the share of their current population that was born in that state, and the share of all U.S. residents born in that state that still live there.

This might not surprise any locals, but people in the Midwest and in Minnesota have a lot of migratory inertia, and tend to stick around. It’s also not one of the states (like Nevada, Florida, or Arizona) where lots of people are moving from all over the rest of the country. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

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4 Responses to Map Monday: US States by Migration Patterns

  1. Joe January 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm #

    Interesting. Creates some very odd groupings.

    Not many times you see a grouping of Mississippi, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Iowa and Nebraska.

    Or MN, TX, CA and KY.

    Also funny that the “Cosmopolitan” states do not include any of the ones you would think have that title (MA, NY, CA, IL, PA, etc.), but does include places like Arkansas, Maine, and the Dakotas.

  2. Aaron Berger January 29, 2018 at 6:57 pm #

    The categories here aren’t necessarily ranked, but there seems to be an implied rank by the colors that doesn’t make sense to me. Wouldn’t it be better to be an insular state than an origin state?

  3. Matt Brillhart January 30, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

    Maybe I’m mistaken, but this data seems to be a snapshot of 2016 only, whereas this type of analysis would seem to call for 5-year ACS data (i.e. 2012-2016).

    The biggest surprises to me on this map is Texas (and CA to a lesser extent). I thought Texas’ large metro areas (of which there are several) were experiencing pretty rapid growth, both in-migration from other states, as well as foreign immigration. How did they wind up as net “insular”?

    Actually, I think I’ve got it. Because Texas and California are so populous, that while native-born residents are leaving their home states, it is less impactful when measured as a percentage of the total population, as this analysis does. Is that right? Looking at the chart, as a general observation, the most populous states are “higher” on the chart (y-axis on left side) than less populated states, with just a few outliers.

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